Would you buy a car that costs 10 times the normal price and which you could drive only on good roads, when the sun is out? No? Yet that’s the equivalent of what thousands do every year when they buy a car warranty.
Many used-car warranties don’t make any sense when you compare what providers are asking you to pay for cover with what you would pay to repair a fault in your car. In our investigation, Which? researchers carried out this comparison using hundreds of real repair costs that Which? members supplied for specific models.
But even if you were willing to pay up to £665 for the comfort of knowing that you would never get a huge bill if the worst happened, you may be disappointed.
Used-car warranty excuses
The excuses of train operators have nothing on the excuses of car-warranty providers eager to avoid paying out: ‘We’re not covering that problem because the part failure was not sudden enough’; ‘you ignored the warning light’; ‘you didn’t ignore the warning light and took it to a garage’; ‘the car got cold because you left it outside in winter’; ‘you bought the warranty two months ago’…
If you’re still keen to get a warranty and are prepared to read the small print to try to understand what you’re buying, you’ll need to know how likely a crankshaft pulley is to fail and how much it costs to repair. And if you know that, you could probably repair it yourself.
There are some warranties that appear to be cheaper and better value than the rest, but in the cases our researchers examined, these carried exclusions meaning you could claim on them once in a blue moon. As with many other poor-value financial products, these warranties depend on small print burying what you actually get for your cash.
Drive past car warranties
My advice is to put your £300 or £400-a-year warranty cost into a separate bank account and draw on it for repairs if you need to. To minimise the need for repairs in the first place, find out which are the most reliable cars in our car reliability survey.
And if you’ve bought a used-car warranty, did you struggle to get your warranty provider to pay out?
Have you ever bought a used-car warranty?
No (80%, 459 Votes)
Yes (20%, 118 Votes)
Total Voters: 577